No Mas! Productions has made “custom” a cornerstone of our business that has been a key differentiator from other furniture stores who consider “custom work” as changing a color or fabric choice on a standard chair frame. At No Mas!, we consider Custom Furniture, Lighting and Accessories as an entirely new design—from scratch. We have helped many restaurateurs, spa owners, hotels and homeowners create something entirely from their mind and produce, with our help, a functional product made in Mexico from various disciplines such as blown glass, carved wood, hand forged wrought iron, cantera stone and pottery. This helps them differentiate their theme from others, including mass-produced items from China. The combination of disciplines is also possible. For example, we are working on an arch top wine cellar door that the client would like to have carved wood panels (both sides so they can see the carving when the doors to their wine cellar are opened and closed), hand forged wrought iron so they can see the wine in the room, insulated glass panels that keep the climate controlled and pre-hung to make it easy to install—all on a budget and delivered in time for their opening of their new winery in Sonoma, California in 8 weeks.
Understand Customer Needs
There are various starting points that range from a napkin and pen sketch to a well thought drawing. The customer typically has an idea in their brain but doesn’t have the ability to articulate that idea onto paper. The ideal scenario is prepared, scaled drawings. It is wise to get an idea of what the customer has budgeted as this can be disappointing if significant time is invested only to find out that it is way over budget. Alternatives to get to a good starting point are to:
- Elaborate the customer’s sketch. We are well versed at hand sketching several ideas in front of the customer to see what they like.
- Walk the showroom to see what they like and how they would like it to be different
- Show photos of products from our vast library sorted by category and artisan
- The customer brings a magazine photo or drawing with desired dimensions
Understand Artisan Capabilities
No Mas! has the experience in working with over 350 Artisans in Mexico and creating custom furnishings. Each artist has their discipline, strengths and weaknesses. A restaurant needing 250 chairs and tables is going to require a metal shop and carpenter that is used to contract manufacturing and can meet a timetable to complete. An artist making an entrance gate for a Country singer will have a different set of requirements. We match the customer need with the artisan capability and bring value in the process thru our experience.
Articulate the Customer Need to the Artisan with minimum interpretation
Once we understand the customer’s needs and agree on a budget, we typically will produce 3-D drawings so that any errors in interpretation by the artisan are eliminated. This step requires a 50% deposit. Once the drawings are completed, the customer has a last look to ensure all dimensions and constraints are in writing.
While no one particularly likes the word, it is essential in understanding everything up front—before the pen hits the napkin. Are there any critical dimensions? Sometimes, there is no additional space to either side of the new furniture. Is the piece of furniture so large that it can not get into the front door? Or that bed that can not go around the landing on the stairs to the upstairs bedroom? Equipment or sinks that must fit into the new bar? These are all critical for a successful custom furniture installation.
Let’s face it, designing something on a napkin and having it produced in a foreign country is challenging. Like anything else, it has the highest rewards to being the single item in your home that everyone comments on. Know the company that your are dealing with. Ask for references and experience in doing similar projects for others. Look at their portfolio!